Bertuzzi Re-Ups with Red Wings

Todd Bertuzzi has agreed to a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, the team announced on Wednesday.

The contract is reportedly worth $3.875 million for an annual cap hit of $1.9375 million. That’s a raise of over $400,000 from the $1.5 million he earned for the 2009-10 season.

With Bertuzzi signed, the Red Wings have retained each of their targeted unrestricted free agents. Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom signed new deals with the team earlier this month while Jason Williams and Brett Lebda aren’t expected to return to Detroit. Andreas Lilja and Kirk Maltby could return but were not stated to be high priorities for Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland.

Holland will now focus on the team’s restricted free agents. That list includes Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, and Derek Meech.

Report: Holmstrom Re-Ups with Red Wings for Two Years

Fox 2 reports that the Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with forward Tomas Holmstrom. No official announcement has been made.

Greg Brady of Toronto’s AM 640 puts Holmstrom’s cap hit at $1.875 million per season, down from the $2.25 million he earned this season, in which he scored 25 goals and added 20 assists.

The Wings re-signed captain Nicklas Lidstrom earlier this week to a $6.2 million deal, down from $7.5 million annually. Combined, the two contracts give the Red Wings over $1.5 million in cap savings.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland said after the Lidstrom signing that unrestricted free agents Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi are at the top of his list, with restricted free agents Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves also requiring new contracts.

Unrestricted free agents Jason Williams and Brett Lebda are expected to be let go.

Game Four Pregame Notes

Kicking this thread off early ’cause I’m planning on building my new deck all day and really don’t know if I’ll have time to post later. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll catch the game yet.

Only note I find interesting is that Mike Babcock is considering swapping out Jason Williams for Mattias Ritola. To that, I shrug.

Ritola didn’t knock my socks off in his stint with the team earlier this year but I’m also of the opinion that Williams can’t get out of Detroit fast enough. Brad May would be no better of an addition. Jan Mursak? Not really a lot of options. And having Williams as the right-handed shot on the point on the power play doesn’t matter if you don’t get any power plays.

I still have a tiny bit of hope that the Red Wings can pull this off but not if they play like they’ve played the first three games of the series, specifically the third period on Tuesday.

Win tonight and it’s back to San Jose with the Sharks knowing they blew a chance to sweep. Win Saturday and it’s back to Detroit with everyone in the hockey world talking about how this could be a classic San Jose choke job.

So it’ll take a lot, and it’ll take the Sharks crumbling a bit, but stranger things have happened. I’m not sure I see it happening but the possibility is there if the Wings can rise up and take it.

Red Wings Fall to Sharks in Penalty-Filled Affair

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-3 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, falling down two games to none in their playoff series in a game that was marred by 14 penalty calls.

The Sharks trailed 3-2 heading into the third period and the Red Wings seemed to have momentum. Then Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall were sent to the box. On the ensuing five-on-three, Joe Pavelski scored his second of the night to tie the game 4:40 into the period.

Joe Thornton would score the game-winner with 7:23 left in regulation, putting home the rebound of a Dany Heatley shot on a three-on-one after Nicklas Lidstrom‘s stick shattered at the San Jose blue line.

Pavel Datsyuk had opened the scoring at 6:51 of the first period, flinging a wrister off the post and in behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov while covered by two Sharks.

Pavelski tied things up on a power play blast from just inside the blue line 2:10 later.

Ryane Clowe put the Sharks ahead with a backhander from in close with 9:28 left in the first but Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Brian Rafalski power play shot past Nabokov 2:45 later to tie things back up.

Nicklas Lidstrom blasted a shot past Nabokov to put Detroit in front just as a power play expired, two minutes into the second period.

The Red Wings finished the night one-for-four on the power play with 4:38 of time with the extra attacker. The Sharks went two for ten in 12:54 of time, including 1:06 of five-on-three.

Jimmy Howard made 41 saves on 45 San Jose shots. Nabokov stopped 28 of Detroit’s 31 chances.

The series will shift to Detroit for Game Three on Tuesday.

The Red Wings were without forward Patrick Eaves, out with an elbow injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Jason Williams.

Game Two Postgame Notes

First Period… I think the Red Wings came out the way they wanted to but were still a bit tentative. The offense definitely wasn’t clicking but despite the one Phoenix goal the defense was pretty strong.

As I mentioned at the time, I felt like the Wings were losing a lot of faceoffs (no matter what the stats actually showed) and getting beat along the boards.

Second Period… Detroit cranked the offense up to eleven but did it at the cost of the defense. You don’t want to see so many defensive mistakes but they’re overshadowed by the offense coming to life. It was a pretty neutral period, with Phoenix losing control of the game but the Red Wings not yet gaining it.

Third Period… After Justin Abdelkader‘s goal, I finally felt like the Wings were going to win this one. Even when Shane Doan tied it up, Detroit had control. Zata and Fil and the ENG seemed inevitable. This was the Detroit team we want to see every night.

Overall… Obviously you’d like to see a full game more like the third period but I like the things Detroit did right in this one. There weren’t a lot of moments in Game One that felt like the high points of the third period tonight.

The power play scored on two of three chances and the PK was perfect, two wrongs from the series opener righted.

The top lines provided the offense and the third and fourth lines were physical.

Todd Bertuzzi looked fantastic out there. Two assists, three shots and four hits on the night.

Abdelkader jumps in and ties Zetterberg for most hits by a Wings forward with five, adding in a Datsyuk-like goal to give Detroit its first lead. You can’t ask for more than that. Jason Williams will never skate for the Wings again.

So we head back to Detroit tied up, with the Wings not in control of the series but sitting where they want. Not bad.

Red Wings Ride Zetterberg’s Hat Trick to Game Two Win over Coyotes

Henrik Zetterberg scored three goals, including two in the third period, as the Detroit Red Wings posted a 7-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Friday night, evening their Western Conference Semifinal matchup at one game apiece.

Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit at 6:27 of the second period, taking a feed from Valtteri Filppula to snap a shot past Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from the slot. It was the first of two power play goals for the Red Wings and tied the game at one.

Phoenix responded just 38 seconds later, when a miscommunication between netminder Jimmy Howard and defenseman Niklas Kronwall left the puck available for Wojtek Wolski to bang past Howard.

The Red Wings tied things back up at 8:20 of the period. Johan Franzen threw the puck to the net, then, at the top of the crease, Pavel Datsyuk reached through the legs of defenseman Adrian Aucoin to get his stick on the puck and deflect it over Bryzgalov’s shoulder.

The Coyotes responded quickly again, with Matthew Lombardi racing the length of the ice, splitting the defense, and beating Howard five-hole 49 seconds after Datsyuk’s goal.

Valtteri Filppula made it five goals in a 3:58 span when he outraced Zbynek Michalek to the puck in the Phoenix end and beat Bryzgalov with a backhander to tie the game at four.

Justin Abdelkader, inserted into the lineup in place of Jason Williams to give Detroit a more physical presence, gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game at 2:32 of the third period. He stole the puck from Wolski as Wolski tried to carry it out of the Phoenix end, then raced in on Bryzgalov and snapped a shot past him.

Shane Doan would tie the game back up at 9:24 of the period, beating Howard on a feed from Vernon Fiddler on a two-on-one after Brian Rafalski pinched in at the Phoenix blue line.

Zetterberg scored his second of the night for the eventual game-winner, banging the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi shot past Bryzgalov with 6:06 remaining.

Filppula added his second on a Detroit power play with 2:06 left in the third, snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle into the top corner of the net.

Zetterberg completed the hat trick with an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to round out the scoring.

Keith Yandle had opened the game’s scoring midway through the first period when he backhanded the rebound of a Martin Hanzal shot over Howard.

The Red Wings reversed their special teams fortunes from Game One, where they scored on only one of six power plays and allowed three goals on four penalty kills. In Game Two they scored on two of three power plays and held the Coyotes off the board on Phoenix’s four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 27 of 31 shots against for his first career playoff win. Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 38 shots.

Game Three will be Sunday afternoon in Detroit.

Game One: Postgame Notes

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a team win a game in which they gave up three power play goals, so Detroit probably didn’t deserve the win tonight. Say what you want about the officiating (and I will in a second) but the Wings’ PK absolutely failed them tonight. If a single penalty kill had been successful, we have a different outcome. And don’t talk to me about the fourth Phoenix power play, that wasn’t a successful kill, the Coyotes killed it by taking a penalty of their own.

A part of that is that the Red Wings lost several key faceoffs. The first and third Phoenix goals came directly off of a lost draw. That cannot continue.

One coaching complaint… When you know the team you’re facing is going to come out and literally hit you with all they’ve got, you put out a lineup that can counter that. I know the Red Wings are obsessed with having a right-handed forward on the point on the second power play unit but Jason Williams is not cutting it.

Williams should have been in the press box with Justin Abdelkader in the lineup. Abdelkader led the Red Wings in hits before being sent down to GR as a cap casualty. Throw him out there and give the Coyotes a taste of their own medicine.

As for the officiating, I won’t complain about what was called but two uncalled penalties really bothered me.

Over at A2Y someone posted that the Wings needed to do a better job of covering the point on the PK. On the game-winning goal, Derek Morris was left all alone to blast a shot past Jimmy Howard.

Why was he so alone? Not because Detroit was down a man but because the man who was supposed to be on Morris, Darren Helm, had been driven to the ice away from the puck by Shane Doan.

Doan knocks Helm down on the faceoff, Morris is left wide open, goal. Doan leaves Helm alone, Helm gets out to cover Morris. Maybe still a goal but that play never would have happened.

A blatant interference play going uncalled directly led to Morris’ goal, that’s unacceptable to me.

Also blatant: The uncalled high stick on Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom takes a stick to the face that draws blood, with the puck still nearby, and no one was looking? Four officials and not a single one saw that? Again, unacceptable.

So I’m not happy about the game but there’s plenty of time for a turnaround. A Detroit win on Friday will mean the Wings have claimed home-ice in a five-game series. The pressure is on the Coyotes for these first two games, I don’t think they can play a game like they did tonight for every game of the series.

Red Wings Rally but Fall to Oilers in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings spent almost the entire game Friday night rallying to pull even with the Edmonton Oilers but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision.

Edmonton had a 2-0 lead before five minutes had been played and the Red Wings used every second of the remaining 55 minutes to tie things back up. Brian Rafalski forced overtime with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

Andrew Cogliano opened the game’s scoring just 57 seconds into the game, scoring into the open side of the net on a cross-crease feed from Gilbert Brule.

4:01 later, Ryan Whitney scored his first goal as an Oiler, cutting from the top of the left circle in low to snap a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Patrick Eaves put the Red Wings on the board with 8:09 left in the second period. Kris Draper raced in behind the Edmonton goal on the forecheck and won the puck, sending it out to Eaves in the right circle for a one-timer past Edmonton netminder Devan Dubnyk.

Rafalski tied the game when Henrik Zetterberg dug the puck out from under Edmonton Theo Peckham in the corner. With nearly everyone on the ice having moved to the left corner, Pavel Datsyuk sent it across for Brian Rafalski to bang into the net from the far side of the crease.

Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule scored on Edmonton’s first two shootout attempts before Howard stopped Robert Nilsson. Pavel Datsyuk rang a backhand chance off the post and Jason Williams scored before Valtteri Filppula was stopped to ensure the Oilers’ win.

Howard made 22 saves on 24 shots on the night. Edmonton took 13 of those shots in the first ten minutes of play. Dubnyk made 31 saves on 33 Detroit chances in earning his first career victory.

Eaves left the game with an upper-body injury after the second period… Combined with Calgary’s win in San Jose Friday night, the Red Wings are now tied with the Flames for eighth place in the Western Conference. Detroit has one game in hand.

Holmstrom’s Late Goal Lifts Red Wings over Flames

Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Johan Franzen shot past Calgary goalie Mikka Kiprusoff with 1:19 left in regulation Monday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Flames.

With the win, the Red Wings extend their lead over the Flames in the standings to three points. Detroit sits in eighth place with 80 points while Calgary is in ninth with 77.

After Brad Stuart held the puck in the Calgary zone, Franzen gained control and spun at the left point before blasting a shot that was heading wide of the net. Holmstrom reached out at the edge of the crease and tipped it into the top of the net.

Calgary had opened the scoring just 1:47 into the first period, when Craig Conroy shoveled the rebound of a Nigel Dawes chance past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, after the Red Wings failed to clear their own zone.

The Flames had the chance to make it 2-0 with 1:30 remaining in the second. On a Detroit power play, Curtis Glencross broke down the ice and was hooked by Jason Williams, leading to a penalty shot.

Streaking in on Howard, Glencross snapped a shot from the high slot that Howard knocked aside.

Only 40 seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board, skating from the top of the right faceoff circle to the edge of the slot to lift a shot past Kiprusoff through a Holmstrom screen.

Howard finished the game with 22 saves on 23 shots. Kiprusoff stopped 26 of 28 Detroit chances.

The Wings scored on their only power play chance of the night. The Flames were scoreless on four chances with the extra attacker, including a third-period four-minute power play.

The Red Wings are now off until Friday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.

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